The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin – Day 152 of 188

Charles Darwin to J.D. Hooker.

Moor Park, Farnham, June 25th [1857].

My dear Hooker,

This requires no answer, but I will ask you whenever we meet. Look at enclosed seedling gorses, especially one with the top knocked off. The leaves succeeding the cotyledons being almost clover-like in shape, seems to me feebly analogous to embryonic resemblances in young animals, as, for instance, the young lion being striped. I shall ask you whether this is so…(See ‘Power of Movement in Plants,’ page 414.)

Dr. Lane (The physician at Moor Park.) and wife, and mother-in-law, Lady Drysdale, are some of the nicest people I ever met.

I return home on the 30th. Good-bye, my dear Hooker.

Ever yours,
C. Darwin.

[Here follows a group of letters, of various dates, bearing on the question of large genera varying.]

Charles Darwin to J.D. Hooker.

March 11th [1858].

I was led to all this work by a remark of Fries, that the species in large genera were more closely related to each other than in small genera; and if this were so, seeing that varieties and species are so hardly distinguishable, I concluded that I should find more varieties in the large genera than in the small…Some day I hope you will read my short discussion on the whole subject. You have done me infinite service, whatever opinion I come to, in drawing my attention to at least the possibility or the probability of botanists recording more varieties in the large than in the small genera. It will be hard work for me to be candid in coming to my conclusion.

Ever yours, most truly,
C. Darwin.

P.S.–I shall be several weeks at my present job. The work has been turning out badly for me this morning, and I am sick at heart; and, oh! how I do hate species and varieties.

Charles Darwin to J.D. Hooker.

July 14th [1857?].

…I write now to supplicate most earnestly a favour, viz., the loan of “Boreau, Flore du centre de la France”, either 1st or 2nd edition, last best; also “Flora Ratisbonensis,” by Dr. Furnrohr, in ‘Naturhist. Topographie von Regensburg, 1839.’ If you can possibly spare them, will you send them at once to the enclosed address. If you have not them, will you send one line by return of post: as I must try whether Kippist (The late Mr. Kippist was at this time in charge of the Linnean Society’s Library.) can anyhow find them, which I fear will be nearly impossible in the Linnean Library, in which I know they are.

I have been making some calculations about varieties, etc., and talking yesterday with Lubbock, he has pointed out to me the grossest blunder which I have made in principle, and which entails two or three weeks’ lost work; and I am at a dead-lock till I have these books to go over again, and see what the result of calculation on the right principle is. I am the most miserable, bemuddled, stupid dog in all England, and am ready to cry with vexation at my blindness and presumption.

Ever yours, most miserably,
C. Darwin.

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